agEncy by pengtt



firsT basE

 bi-annual rEporT

c H a i r m a n ’ s r E p o rT

it certainly gives me a feeling of great satisfaction to be once        in a recent speech, fergus Ewing msp, the minister for
again writing my chairman’s report on what is now the first base        community safety, stated that he was determined to see more
agency’s fifth anniversary. sadly, it is a feeling that many fellow     voluntary sector involvement in providing drug and alcohol
chairmen of small charities like ours will never get the chance to      awareness presentations in schools. We couldn’t agree more. in
experience. There is competition for every penny of funding so          the last two years, first base has given presentations to over 5000
times are hard for many small charities.                                pupils across the region. The management committee have been
                                                                        delighted to hear both of our managers report that more and more
Everyone involved with first base has experienced what it is like to    anecdotal evidence indicates that this generation of 16,17 and 18
feel the financial pinch over the last two years. at times, the going   years olds is becoming very ‘anti-heroin’ and not going near it.
has got very hard indeed and i would like to take this opportunity      This is a huge turnaround for a region which only three years ago
to thank everyone involved in the project for digging in their heels,   had an appalling 7% of its 15 to 25 generation using the drug - by
refusing to be discouraged, and fighting through what have been         far the worst record of any region in scotland. We all believe we
some tough times.                                                       have played a major role in this turnaround and it is something of
                                                                        which we are very proud.
in January of this year, things were as bleak as the winter weather.
We were all finding it hard to see a way through to the year end.       as The first base agency sets out into our second half decade, our
i wrote to many local businesses to ask for their support and           fundamental principles remain unchanged. We believe that our
was greatly encouraged by their generosity. Then in february we         role is to help to unleash the huge positive potential to be found
received a huge boost when the Holywood Trust resumed their             in both family and community. We believe that giving honest and
support of our work with a donation that helped us to keep all of       accurate information to young people will help them to make the
our projects running.                                                   right choices. We do not believe that prevention and abstinence
                                                                        are unachievable. We do not believe that the fight against the drug
as i write this piece, i am delighted to be able to report that the     dealers is lost and no longer worth fighting.
financial outlook for The first base agency is looking as bright as
it has at any time during the last five years. our funding from the     i am delighted to report that The first base agency is in rude
scottish government has been renewed for a further three years          health. These last five years have by no means knocked the stuffing
and we continue to enjoy the support of our local council. The          out of us and we remain full of both optimism and fight!
robertson Trust, The alvor foundation and now the Holywood
Trust are wonderful supporters who take a keen and active interest      Hilary Grieve
in our work. i would like also to thank all the funders who are
listed at the end of this annual report for their support as well as
many members of the local community who offer us both support
and donations.

i am also pleased to report that we certainly seem to be making
an impact. in 2007, scotland’s first minister as well as two
party leaders visited us in person to listen to our views. We also
represented the Voluntary sector in giving information to a special
meeting of the scottish parliament’s Health committee. for a very
small charity we certainly seem to have developed rather a loud

The scottish government’s newly published drugs strategy has
highlighted the fact that scotland’s drug crisis now costs the nation
an estimated £2 billion a year. it also seems to agree with many of
the things first base has been saying for some time. for five years
we have been helping local families to help their loved ones move
on from their dependencies. We must never forget that families do
not become 24 hour a day support networks for money: they do
it out of love. it seems that politicians are beginning to appreciate
and recognise what a huge resource the family can be. Three cheers
to that!

                                             1 . T H E o rg a n i s aT i o n

The first base agency is a registered charity based in Dumfries.        requirements as much as possible. currently our staff comprises of
We are a Drug, alcohol and gambling information, advice and             a support manager, (full Time) an Education manager,
support centre. We first opened in June 2003 and we have seen           (full Time) a community-link Worker / general assistant, (16
the demand for our services grow drastically ever since. We lease       Hours) and five volunteers.
extensive, centrally located premises in the town and our clients
are drawn from across Dumfries and galloway, with a high                We have an enthusiastic and robust management committee
percentage coming from the town itself. We are open to the public       comprising of individuals with a wide spectrum of knowledge and
from 12 noon to 4pm, monday to Thursday - we do, however,               experience.
see clients outside of these hours. We took the decision early on
to keep our staff levels as low as possible to minimise our funding

               cHairman                                       TrEasurEr                                          sEcrETary
          Hilary griEVE                                   marK blounT                                     margarET marr

   Hilary is the senior partner in a local       mark is the senior pharmacist for one of          margaret co-ordinates the volunteers for
    practice of solicitors with extensive         Dumfries’ longest established chemists.         shelter in Dumfries. she is a fully qualified
   experience of work within the nHs.               The pharmacy has been involved in                            youth worker.
                                                   prescribing methadone since the early
                                                    1990’s and they have over fifty such

                             mEmbEr                                                                   mEmbEr
                        ross mcgaW                                                               KEVin WEilD

ross has many years of experience in both the social services and            Kevin has worked in the addictions field for a number of years
  the council’s Housing services Department. He now manages                   firstly for cranstoun and now for phoenix futures where he
  the Home support Team at the Dumfries branch of Home in                        manages the support programmes in Hmp Dumfries,

                                             2. our sErVicEs

                         When the first base agency opened the doors to the public in June 2003,
                                  we provided the community with two main services.

                             1. To provide an Information Centre for the community to be able to tap into.

            2. We established a support service for families, friends and carers affected by someone else’s drug or alcohol
                                                 misuse or their gambling problem.

   our research correctly identified that these were two areas where services in the town and the surrounding area were almost entirely
    lacking. We then planned to further develop our services in line with the needs that we identified during the course of our work.

         T H o u g H T s f ro m T H E c o m m u n i T y l i n K W o r K E r

i cannot believe that it has been five years    referred to us from Welfare rights, citizens    grandparents. i recently attended a
since the first base agency opened its doors    advice, social services, Women’s aid,           community conference, organised by the
to families, and i started my position as       the Homeless Department several other           aDaT, which was interesting, especially
community link worker/ general assistant.       agencies. an added addition to the parcels      the guys from Drumchapel who were
                                                is toothbrushes and toothpaste, with            working very closely with all age groups in
a lot has happened over these five years,       compliments of the oral health team, a big      their community to help reduce alcohol
some good, and sadly some not so good.          thank you to them. numbers referred for         related harm and risk, from setting up
one of the not so good was that the             this service have increased, especially the     workshops and plays to organising a
stewartry family support group closed           numbers of families with children this year,    christmas lunch, what really impressed me
its doors this year because of a lack of        mainly because of the benefit system taking     was that they managed to get the whole
funding. This service not only offered          so long to sort benefits out. When the new      community involve in the projects, from
‘one to one’ support and group support,         system was put in place, with most of the       school children to local businesses, well
it also offered alternative therapies such      claims made via the telephone, (we allow        done guys. our local Drugs and alcohol
as reiki and massage from trained staff.        people to use our telephone for this), it was   forum has decided to take a leaf out of
This service will be a sad loss to all its      supposed to be a more efficient and quicker     first base’s book, and get information to
clients, even prospective ones, who may         way of dealing with claims. sadly this has      the community by taking out a half page in
now have to travel outside the area for this    not been the case for the many people who       the local free press for six weeks, there will
type of support. sadly this is an all too       have had to use our food parcel service.        be something different each week relating
familiar story for a lot of small charitable    one such case that sticks in my mind is         to drugs, alcohol and services, about time,
organisations, which surely puts doubt in       a family with a seven week old baby. The        still better late than never.... as our motto
the minds of new ones which have just           male had been working, but had sadly            reads - ‘information means the power to
set up or are in the process of doing so.       lost his job the week the baby was born.        make choices.’
i would just like to mention a few such         They applied for benefits, but seven weeks
organisations, because they don’t have a        later, the day they were referred to us for a   my job is as enjoyable today as it was on
lot of funding, and i’d like other services,    food parcel, their benefits still hadn’t been   my first day, i find myself fortunate to be
prospective clients and possible funders to     sorted out. family members were helping         able to say i love my job, and hope that we
know of their existence Kindred spirits of      as best they could, but they were struggling    continue to secure funding to take us into
Dumfries which was set up by a kinship          financially themselves. all the benefits        the next five years and beyond ............
carers to help other kinship carers in the      agency could say was ‘don’t worry your
region, and since setting up in october         payment will be back dated’. not good           Yvonne Kirkpatrick
they have well over 30 members. Kinship         enough when your seven week old baby            community link Worker/general assistant
care is when a family member or close           is in need of milk and nappies every day.
family friend is bringing up another family     another similar case was a young female
member’s child or children, because, for        with three children under school age, who’s
various reasons, they can no longer live        partner had left her. she had been trying to
with the birth parents. This service offers     get her benefits sorted out for three weeks.
‘one to one’, group and telephone support       i advised these two families to see their
along with advice and information, they are     mp/msp, and i am pleased to say, i met the
also hoping to build on the social aspect,      family with the seven week old baby, and
by organising days out and holidays for         after speaking to their mp/msp their claim
the children and carers. To find out more       was sorted within days, so if you feel your
contact Tulip on 01387 256 408 or e-mail        benefits are taking longer than expected There is also      my advise is to speak to your mp/msp. We
a mum who would like to offer her time          do not supply baby milk or nappies in the
and support to other bereaved parents,          food parcels, but if some generous people
she cares enough to sit and listen because      out there would like to donate items to our
she understands the pain these parents are      food parcels then these would be greatly
suffering. for more information you can         appreciated.
contact her through us here at the first base
agency.                                         as part of our job is to give information
                                                about drugs, alcohol and gambling, some
it is fantastic that Dumfries and galloway      of the information leaflets which we give
council have continued to provide us            out free of charge can be very expensive,
the funding for our food parcel service,        so we were very thankful when our local
which is available to anyone who is having      aDaT paid the invoices for information
difficulty with their benefits. clients are     leaflets and the ‘Journeys’ booklets for

                   T H E i n f o r m aT i o n / E D u c aT i o n p ro J E c T

governments north and south of the border are putting increasing emphasis on the need for more information
about drugs in particular to be made available to the community. We undertake this work in several ways.

a) We are open to the public for four days per week in a central location. We have an extensive library of information leaflets and
   educational materials which are available to the public free of charge.
b) These materials may be mailed out to clients following verbal advice on our telephone help-line. This service is entirely confidential and
   we do not use franked envelopes.

                                                          o V E rV i E W

The first base agency information/              young people a clear and accurate vision        with such a manifestly defeatist attitude and
Education project has continued to              of the realities of a life controlled by        we strongly believe that a hard hitting/non
successfully meet its targets and objectives.   heroin addiction. We have done this both        boring approach based on cold hard street
once again in 2007/8, we have presented         through our classroom presentations and by      level fact can and does achieve results.
our drug and alcohol awareness workshops        distributing our two books ‘stoppage time’
to over 2500 primary and secondary              and ‘roads to Down’.                            The focus of our work in schools has
schools across the region. We have                                                              changed over the last twelve months.
continued to receive steady demand for our      over recent months we have been picking         Dumfries and galloway like most of britain
‘drugs education for parents’ workshops,        up growing evidence that our work is            is seeing an upsurge in binge drinking
talks to community groups and training          starting to have an impact. This feeling        amongst younger and younger children.
sessions for organisations. sponsorship for     is shared by the local drug squad officers      The streets are awash with 50p a pill blue
our information pages in the Dumfries           involved in school programmes. it has           valium. cocaine is crashing in price and
standard has continued and once again           been noticeable that our family mediation       maintains a glamorous aura.
we have produced six such pages. We have        project is suddenly receiving very few
helped and advised over 300 visitors to the     contacts from the concerned parents of          We are very much aware that the recent
agency.                                         teenagers with embryonic heroin problems,       change in attitudes to heroin is only a
                                                whereas only two years ago such cases were      start. our information/Education project
by far the most encouraging development         represented the majority of new clients. in     will continue to have new challenges to
has been the growing evidence that tide         numerous conversations with teenagers and       address as the Drugs industry markets new
seems to be turning in regard to the            drug users, we have heard that heroin use       products to fill the financial void left by
catastrophic heroin use within the local        has lost almost all of its ‘cool’ and anyone    falling heroin sales.
younger generation. Three years ago,            using it is now widely considered to be a
government figures revealed that a ruinous      ‘saddo’. This new trend is something we         mark frankland
7% of our 15 to 25 year olds were using         are delighted to see and we are very pleased    Education Manager
heroin or valium or both. This alarming         and proud at the part we have played in
statistic was double the next worst in          making it happen. over recent years there
scotland. for three years the main objective    has been a growing national mood that
of our schools project has been to try to       drugs education is so ineffective as to be
improve this appalling situation by giving      almost pointless. We absolutely disagree

                                                WorK in scHools

as mentioned above, we have presented           of scottish teenagers never touch an illegal     in this year’s brochures which we have sent
our drug and alcohol awareness workshops        drug and it is our belief that a majority of     out to all schools across the region we have
to over 2500 local pupils. our core             those who do dabble only do so as a result       pointed out the benefits that we feel can be
philosophy in developing the style and          of peer pressure and fear of being mocked        achieved by first base coming in to address
content of our workshops has not changed.       and excluded. our goal is to get them to         all year groups every year. This achieves two
it is our belief that young people find         think about what they will do and say when       clear outcomes. firstly and most obviously,
the whole issue of drugs and alcohol            the dreaded moment arrives and to make           it gives us the opportunity to present pupils
both compelling and fascinating: a drugs        alliances with like minded friends. our          with full spectrum of risks associated with
awareness class should always be a lesson       talks to s2, 3 and 4 focus on the life ruining   drink and drugs. secondly and more subtly,
to be looked forward to. being preachy          implications that can result from binge          we hope that as pupils get to meet us on
and simply telling young people to say ‘no’     drinking, cannabis and valium. We point          several occasions through their school
loses what is an outstanding opportunity        out the consequences of getting a criminal       career, they will get an impression that we
to help them make better choices. We have       record as a result of drug and alcohol           are people worth talking to if things ever go
learned that by far the best approach is to     fuelled aggression, anti social behaviour        wrong. in a way, we see each presentation as
tell the absolute truth about the issue and     and violence. We highlight the long term         an investment which will mean that some
to back this up by local life stories. We       implications of blowing exams and the            young people will feel confident enough to
also put a great deal of effort into ensuring   genuine threat to long term mental health        come and see us in the future when they
that our presentations are fast moving and      presented by cannabis use. When we talk to       run into problems. This could be crucially
entertaining.                                   s5, s6 and college students we focus more        important as such problems are infinitely
                                                on the dangers of so called party drugs like     easier to solve at an early stage than they are
We have now developed a number of               Ketamine, Ecstasy and cocaine as well as         when the problem has become deep rooted.
presentations appropriate to different age      the growing health problems that are being
groups. for p7 and s1 pupils we focus           experienced by young adults who have been
on the whole issue of how to go about           binge drinking for several years.
saying ‘no’ when the inevitable offer of
drugs comes along. Encouragingly, 70%

                                                    s T o p pa g E T i m E

‘stoppage Time’ is the second book that we       chaotic young heroin addict. We felt it           all the negative press has moved from front
have produced as part of our information/        would be constructive to allow the reader         page to chip paper to landfill to mulch.
Education programme and it was right             to get to know him before he had even             below is brooks’s forward to the book
at the heart of our work with gretna fc.         thought of taking any illegal drugs. at this      which speaks volumes about the man and
as was the case with ‘roads to Down’,            point he is a thoroughly likeable and decent      what he achieved. in the end he was not
our first book, the idea behind ‘stoppage        young lad who everyone likes. Hopefully           able to keep his outrageous dream on the
Time’ was to use fiction as a vehicle to show    the reader gets the message that once you         tracks, but for several years he gave an awful
young people how the process of having a         strip away the addiction from most users,         lot to an awful lot of people. sadly, that
life destroyed by drugs actually happens: a      you will find a nice person who has simply        might well be forgotten by many but it will
narcotic step by step guide of what it is a      made some lousy decisions.                        always be remembered by all of us at first
really good idea to avoid doing.                                                                   base. Hopefully ‘stoppage Time’ can help
                                                 When the book was a third finished, gretna        to keep the memory alive for years to come.
‘stoppage Time’ tells the fictional story of     made it to the scottish cup semi final at
Danny. at the start of the book, Danny           Hampden park which was a fact that was            Having grown up on a North-East
is a fifteen year old boy with a prodigious      crazier than any of the fiction in ‘stoppage      council estate myself, I have seen with
talent for football. He has just been selected   Time’. We decided to print a souvenir,            my own eyes the devastating affects drug
for the scotland under 16 squad and              ‘taster’ version of the first three chapters      and alcohol abuse can have on children
premiership scouts are turning up to watch       of the book which was handed out free of          and their families. From when I first
him play for his club on a sunday morning.       charge to all the supporters as they made         became involved with Gretna Football
in a nutshell, he is a boy with the world at     their way up to glasgow. The feedback we          Club, one of my main objectives was to
his feet. all of this changes as Danny starts    received in the weeks that followed was very      evolve Gretna FC into a community club
to make the wrong choices. initially these       interesting. young people certainly enjoyed       in every sense of the word. Not just in
wrong choices involve so called recreational     it, but it was clear that they already knew       football coaching, but with education
drugs, but as his life starts to slip off the    a good 70% about the kind of situations           to children of all ages. I believe that it
tracks, Danny soon becomes involved in           Danny found himself in. parents on the            is the moral responsibility of EVERY
ever more serious drugs and soon he is           other hand were astonished at many of the         football club to be actively involved in
travelling the well trodden Dumfries road        realities of teenage life and clearly knew a      the community and that sport honestly
that leads to paranoia, anti social behaviour,   great deal less than their kids. from this        makes a difference.
family breakdown, crime, prison, addiction,      we drew a simple conclusion: adults stood
and near death. although Danny is an             to learn much more from ‘stoppage Time’           We at Gretna teamed up with The First
entirely fictional character, everything that    than youngsters.                                  Base Agency about 18 months ago.
happens to him has happened to young                                                               Mark Frankland and his staff are doing
people we have come to know during the           in the light of this, we made an                  a remarkable job going into schools and
course of our work at first base.                appointment to meet up with brooks                educating children about drugs as well as
                                                 mileson, gretna’s benefactor, and put the         providing advice and support from their
There are two basic principles behind            idea that instead of printing 5000 copies of      office in Dumfries.
the book. firstly, we hope to harness the        the book and giving them away to school
power of football to attract the interest of     children, we should in fact print 15,000          Mark approached me last year about the
the young readers. The book has proved           copies and give them away to parents as           idea of writing a book chronicling the life
popular with all ages of reader, but we have     well. it says a great deal about the man          of a young boy who gets mixed up with
been particularly pleased to hear that it        and his vision for the gretna football in         drugs and who is eventually redeemed
has attracted many teenage boys who have         the community program that he said ‘yes’          through football. The book is not only an
not thrived with their reading. The second       without batting an eyelid.                        enthralling read but sends out a powerful
premise is similar to the one that we used in                                                      message on the problems of drug and
‘roads to Down’. Writers from the brothers       Tragically at the time of writing, gretna are     alcohol abuse in our society and that
grimm to roald Dahl have proved that             facing imminent liquidation and brooks            football can make a real difference if the
dark, grim tales have always enjoyed a           is seriously ill. as is so often the case when    club cares and is willing to tackle the
special appeal among young people. at            any business folds, things have got messy.        problem in a constructive and positive
times, ‘stoppage Time’ is very grim indeed       There is a danger that much of                    fashion.
as of course is its subject matter. Towards      the fantastic work that brooks not only
the end of the book, Danny has become            initiated, but also paid for, will be forgotten   Brooks Mileson
the kind of figure that so many in our           among all the recriminations. at least
community carry such a loathing for: a           ‘stoppage Time’ will still be around when

newspaper pages and                             Talks to community groups                      involvement in the
media work                                      and training workshops                         development of local strategy

once again gr blount pharmacy have              We continue to receive invitations to          The first base agency plays a part in
continued their sponsorship of our six          address a wide variety of community groups     several local strategy groups; the anti-social
information pages per annum in the              and we always make time for such events.       behaviour group, the aDaT drugs forum
Dumfries standard. feedback on these            new bookings invariably come as a result of    and families sub group, the nHs Health
pages has been consistently strong and we       ‘word of mouth’ recommendations which          and Homelessness group, The Domestic
are confident that a large proportion of the    we believe is testimony to the success of      abuse strategy group and the aDaT
paper’s 40,000 customers take time out to       our talks. for the first time we have been     Education sub group. obviously in terms
read the page.                                  asked to address the managers of one of        of the information/Education project, the
                                                the town’s bigger employers who wanted to      aDaT Education sub group has been the
We continue to receive a steady stream          find out how workplace drug use could be       most relevant. over the last year the first
of calls from both print and broadcast          addressed. We anticipate more such work as     base school workshops have been locked
journalists looking for comment on a            employers start to realize how wide spread     into local aDaT strategy.
variety of drug and alcohol related issues.     drug use at work is becoming and the
We have always felt there is a quid pro quo     health and safety implications such activity
in dealing with the press. if we make sure      can have.
that we take time out to help them with
either a difficult story or a quiet news day,
then they in turn will help out when we
feel there is important information that
the public should be aware of. a four page
feature article on first base in the new
‘Dumfries and border life’ magazine had a
noticeable impact.

                                                        prison TimE

Whether we are passing out information to         a further excellent resource in terms of        generally involves generating a two hour
school pupils, college students, community        collecting relevant information are those       debate on all the issues surrounding the
groups, businesses, service providers or the      who are serving prison sentences as a           local drug problem. prisoners in shotts are
general public, it is essential that we do        result of drug related crime. We have built     all serving at least four years and therefore
all we can to ensure that the information         up close links with two scottish prisons        those who attend our workshops tend to
we impart is as up to date and accurate           - Hmp Dumfries and Hmp shotts.                  have come from the upper echelons of
as possible. regular contact with clients         prisoners in Dumfries tend to be serving        scotland’s organized crime gangs - These
who either collect food parcels or use our        short sentences for low level drug related      workshops give us an invaluable insight
support programmes is of course key to            offences. The prison now runs a ‘12 step’       into the working of the Drugs industry at
achieving this as a clear majority of those       programme to help prisoners deal with the       its highest levels.
coming in for food parcels are in difficult       various issues behind their drug use. first
situations as a result of drug addiction.         base plays a part in the programme and this


a key first base mission is to be a bridge        born out by the fact that we have been          in the parliament. We were also particularly
between those at the very bottom of               visited at the agency by three of scotland’s    pleased when our information/education
society and those at the very top who are         party leaders - the then first minister, Jack   project was commended on the floor of the
responsible for formulating policy in the         mcconnel who came along with his Justice        parliament by the Education minister who
parliament. over the last twelve months we        minister, conservative leader annabel           stated that the partnership between The
feel we have earned ourselves a reputation        goldie and solidarity leader Tommy              first base agency and gretna fc was an
for being able to offer politicians a clear and   sheridan. We were also invited to represent     example of good practice which should be
honest view on how things are at a street         the voluntary sector in giving evidence to a    considered throughout the country.
level. The extent of this reputation is maybe     special meeting of the Health committee

                                        THE firsT basE Dynamos

in the autumn of 2005 we established our         when their cup exploits came on the same        mates, no prospects: not much of anything.
partnership with gretna football club. The       day that liverpool won what was widely          in fact being clean and free was worse than
initial motivation in our joining forces was     regarded as the best fa cup final in thirty     being inside. at least in prison there was
to take our drug and alcohol workshops           years. We felt that there had to be a way for   plenty of company and the chance of a
into more schools across the region. at the      first base to tap into this excitement and      game of pool.
time, gretna’s groundbreaking ‘football          to make more use of our partnership with
in the community’ programme was being            gretna.                                         bearing all this in mind we decided to
taken up by over a hundred local schools.                                                        try and use football as a way of helping
Their vision was crystal clear and one that      for some time, a common theme of many           with these issues. We established The first
we found hugely impressive. They believed        conversations with drug using clients had       base Dynamos, a football team open to
that because any professional football club      been how hard it was for them to fill their     young men looking to turn around lives
relies completely on the support of the local    time and to stay motivated once they had        wrecked by drugs, crime and anti social
community, it has a cast iron obligation         got themselves through a withdrawal from        behaviour. gretna agreed to supply a coach
to do all it can to play a positive role,        drug addiction. in many cases they had          for two hours of coaching every week. The
particularly with younger fans. football has     lost contact with family. old pals didn’t       Wickerman festival sponsored match kit.
become very powerful medicine indeed in          want to know them any more. The only            The local lions club sponsored sweat shirts
the two decades that have passed since the       mates they had were all still using drugs and   and rain jackets. soon we had over twenty
catastrophe at Hillsborough and the Taylor       therefore had to be avoided. Weighed down       players turning up for training and we
report. The kind of influence that both          by criminal records and public contempt,        started arranging a few friendly matches. at
clubs and players have over youngsters can       many of those we talked to painted a pretty     this point something unexpected happened.
be seen in the mind numbing sums paid            miserable picture about what a ‘clean’ life     The pitch where we trained was an all
out by corporations to top players in return     actually meant in practice. all too often       weather affair which had been built some
for them appearing on billboards with their      they found themselves spending endless          years earlier using money from the Eu ear
products.                                        hours in their hostel rooms watching hour       marked for less favoured areas where kids
                                                 after hour of daytime TV. no money. no          had nothing to do. many such kids started
gretna wanted to support any work that           friends. no chance of being offered a job       turning up to watch the Dynamos
would have a positive influence on the           and weighed down by the all pervasive           training sessions and when we asked why,
lives of local young people and they were        local wisdom of ‘once a junkie, always a        they soon told us. The new facility for local
quick to agree with our view that effective      junkie’. it was no surprise that so many        kids with nothing much to do was available
drug and alcohol awareness workshops             would relapse in a very short time. in many     to the same kids to use so long as they
had the potential to help steer the next         cases the choice to resume a heroin using       could come up with £23 an hour. of course
generation clear of the local heroin disaster.   career was taken more from a yearning to        £23 was a tough sum for them to come up
The partnership worked in two ways.              hook back up with old pals than from a          with as they came from a ‘less favoured area’
We produced a brochure describing all            driving desire to enjoy a hit. similarly, we    which was the reason that the Eu stumped
the workshops that first base could offer        were constantly meeting liberated prisoners     up for an all weather pitch to be built in the
and sent it out to all of the schools who        coming in for food parcels to keep them         first place. in the light of this, the local kids
had signed up to the gretna programme.           going for a few days until their benefits       had got themselves into a routine whereby
We also agreed to jointly produce a book         kicked in. The majority of these clients        they would turn up whenever a group of
called ‘stoppage Time’. The club gave us a       had been locked up as a result of drug          adults were playing in the hope that they
donation of £20,000 which at the time was        related offences. This of course came as        would finish ten minutes early thereby
hugely important to us as it came at a time      little surprise as 75% of those who enter       giving the youngsters the chance of a quick
when funding was particularly tight.             the scottish prison system do so as a result    game before the pitch was padlocked
                                                 of heroin habits. more often than not, we       closed. soon they started to lobby us. The
by the summer of 2006, the partnership           found these liberated prisoners had used        basic message was ‘why can’t we have a
was flourishing. gretna were in the midst        their time behind bars to get clean and         team?’ it took about a month, but in the
of their ‘fantasy football’ journey that         now they were highly motivated to turn          end they broke us down and the first base
captured the imagination of the football         their backs on lives blighted by drugs and      Dynamos under 17’s came into existence.
public all over the uK and beyond. Their         crime and were determined to make a new
exploits were charted in an excellent bbc        start. sadly, more often than not when          During the last two years the Dynamos
documentary in which first base played a         they returned a fortnight later their pinned    project has enjoyed great success as well
part. They lived their dream all the way to      eyes spoke of their failure to achieve this.    as great support. We have received two
the cup final at Hampden park where they         Why? They had discovered that being clean       awards from the local anti social behaviour
were only defeated in a penalty shoot out.       and free meant twenty hours a day in their      fund which have enabled us to cover basic
The excitement was extraordinary, especially     hostel bedroom glued to daytime TV. no          running costs. We have been lucky enough ‹

to attract an excellent team of committed       more than welcome not to turn up, but          many families for whom £5 a week would
volunteers without whom the project would       should they choose to do so, they would        be an impossible sum to find, particularly
not be possible. The purchase of a minibus      have no chance of being selected for the       if they have more than one child wanting
has given us the opportunity to play games      next match. They all turned up and were        to play football. We feel that this situation
well away from Dumfries and the input           duly ‘beasted’ through a series of press ups   is intolerable. participation in youth
from the gretna coaches saw the players         and sprints. The next time we stopped for      football ticks any number of boxes for the
develop their skills and attitude.              chips, every box found its way into the        government. it means healthy exercise as
                                                bin! some of our approaches to behaviour       opposed to sitting in front of a computer,
although there is no requirement for            and discipline might be considered to be       it means avoiding drink and drugs to stay
players in the young team to have been          politically incorrect, but we receive few      fit for a weekend game, it means being part
in any kind of trouble, the fact that the       complaints from the players. in 2007 a         of a team as opposed to hanging around
team goes under the banner of first base        survey of 30,000 british teenagers by ex       the streets. surely such choices should be
has meant that we have tended to attract        labour mp oona King revealed that a            wholeheartedly supported by both local and
lads who have been in bother on one             startling 70% wanted to spend more time        national government. instead everything
sort or another. it has been immensely          ‘in the company of responsible adults.’ it     costs, right down to paying for a council
satisfying to see the change in many of our     was an incredibly damning finding and one      pitch to play on. We feel very strongly
young players during the course of their        which all of us involved in the Dynamos        that this is wrong and we have launched a
involvement with the Dynamos. Without           project can fully appreciate.                  campaign to demand that funds are made
doubt, our regime is much stricter than                                                        available for all youngsters to be able to
most similar teams, but almost without          There are several points we would like         become involved in youth football free of
exception we have found that the players        to raise to conclude this section. sadly,      charge. such a positive activity really needs
have both welcomed and responded well           the gretna fairytale has now turned into       to be available to all youngsters, not just
to the strict boundaries that we set. a good    a nightmare which is a great tragedy.          those who come from families who are able
example of this came when we played a           at the time of writing it is unclear as to     to find over £200 a year for them to be part
game away in Kirkcudbright. The owner of        whether those involved in the football in      of a team.
the nearby farm that hosts the Wickerman        the community programme will be able
festival came along to watch and treated        to attract alternative funding to continue     finally, we would like to point out the
the squad to fish and chips. When we were       their work. first base is committed to do      name on our under 17’s kit: Eis. This is a
ten miles down the road back to Dumfries,       all we can to help them and we fervently       scottish teachers union and they awarded
it became clear that a large number of the      hope that they are successful. all of the      us £2000 in 2007. We are often asked
bright blue food boxes had been tossed          magnificent work in the community              about our evaluation of both our education
out of the bus windows. We explained that       that the club was able to carry out over       work and our Dynamos project, When
any car following might well have noticed       a period of years was entirely down to         the local branch of the Eis supports local
the unusually large number of dumped            the generosity of the club’s benefactor,       charities, a normal award is about £200.
chip boxes and that they might possibly         brooks mileson. sadly ill health meant         The fact that they awarded us £2000 means
be tied back to the farmer who would            that brooks was forced to withdraw his         a great deal and we feel it says a lot about
be duly embarrassed. This drew a fairly         support which resulted in the club going       the effectiveness of our work in schools.
bored and contemptuous reaction. The            into administration. We would like to take     in the end, teachers are the professionals
reaction changed somewhat when we told          this opportunity to say a big thank you to     who know the most about how to pass on
the players that the bus was turning round      brooks for his support and to wish him all     information to a classroom full of young
and not returning to Dumfries until each        the very best for the future.                  people. it is what they do every day of their
and every box was picked up. This task was                                                     working lives and the fact that they were
duly completed over the course of the next      We have found the costs involved in            willing to give such a generous and public
hour in driving rain. one of our volunteer      running our two teams to be quite              vote of confidence to first base was the
coaches who is an ex soldier then informed      shocking. most junior clubs keep               cause of very great pride to the whole of our
the team that they would be introduced to       themselves going by asking for subs from       team.
a old army routine known as ‘beasting’ at       their players, usually about £5 a week. We
their next training session. all players were   are determined not to do this. There are

               c o m m E n T s , T E s T i m o n i a l s a n D E Va l u aT i o n

1. Mr Barry Graham, headmaster of Moffat Academy.                        Comments from Pupils who have attended awareness workshop

“Early in the year, The first base agency talked to staff about drugs    ‘He did well. i enjoyed it and surprisingly enough i did pay
issues in the local community. We were so impressed by this that         attention,’ a barony college student.
we asked first base to talk to all of our psE classes which take place
                                                                         ‘i know that if anyone offers me drugs i will definitely say no!!!!!!’
every morning between 9.00 am and 9.30 am. first base were able
                                                                         A P7 pupil from Caerlaverock Primary School
to focus their presentations on the needs of young people and we
plan to invite them back each year to talk to the classes again. This    ‘it was good yet really, really boring.’
will help to ensure a clear line of progression and that young people    A 50/50 view from Gretna Primary School P7
are given the information when it is needed by them. The feedback
from staff and students was very positive.”                              ‘The talk has made a big difference in my life. it’s encouraged me so
                                                                         even if i get pressured i won’t take drugs.’
2. Headmistress, Laurieknowe Primary School, Dumfries                    Gretna Primary School. P7

                                                                         ‘it was quite good but i am not stupid enough to throw my life
“at laurieknowe primary school we have worked with The first
                                                                         away by taking drugs.’
base agency for the last four years. our first contact with first base
                                                                         Kirkcudbright Academy 54.
was when they visited the school to perform some drama work
which described the reality of the drug situation here in Dumfries.      ‘Heard it before in some psE classes about drugs.’
mark frankland speaks to our primary 7 classes and their parents         Maxwelltown High School S4
as a part of our school health education programme at a meeting
arranged during the school day. The aim of this parent/pupil             ‘made me think about the mental illness side of cannabis.’
meeting is to give the children an insight about the realities of what   Maxwelltown High S4
they will encounter on the streets of their home town. by asking
                                                                         ‘it was good but to be honest i wouldn’t do drugs anyway.’
parents to join us for this talk, we are hoping to offer a starting
                                                                         Kirkcudbright Academy S4
point for discussion between parents and children which can be
built on over time. it can be difficult to encourage parents to come     ‘Would stop me going near cannabis.’
along during the day, but those who do attend are always very glad       Kirkcudbright Academy 54
that they have made the effort. Their responses indicate that they
find the information very valuable in helping them to be drugs           ‘Was very good. Examples of real life situations were very
aware and help protect their children.                                   important.’
                                                                         Maxwelltown High School S4
3. In the Scottish Parliament
                                                                         ‘great talk, broke away from the normal routine.’
                                                                         St Aiden’s High School S6
During Education Questions in the scottish parliament last year,
when the Education minister was asked if she had heard about             ‘i will now think before i pop another E.’
the excellent anti-drug work being undertaken by The first base          St Aiden’s High School
agency and gretna fc, she replied that she was indeed familiar
with the project and felt that it was an example of good practice        ‘yeah really good, stone hard facts.’
that could be rolled out across scotland.                                St Aidan’s High School

                                                                         ‘i’m not doing E’s again.’
                                                                         St Aidan’s High School

Thought it was the best talk we have had so far on
drugs. i could relate to it more and expected it to
be the same boring stuff as usual but it wasn’t!
An S5 from Kirkcudbright Academy.

 c o l l aT E D E Va l u aT i o n r E s u lT s f ro m a s a m p l E o f 2 7 7
 p u p i l s f ro m o n E c o l l E g E , T H r E E H i g H s c H o o l s a n D
                      T H r E E p r i m a ry s c H o o l s

QuESTIoN 1                                              QuESTIoN 2

i thought the talk was.......                           How did the time pass?

1.        Totally rubbish. boring!                      1.        The minutes crawled by.
2.        oK. nothing special. average.                 2.        Just like any lesson really.
3.        good. Entertaining.                           3.        pretty quick.

     80                                                      50
                                                                                      2          3
     70                                 3
     50                                                      30
     30                                                      20

     20                                                                  1
     10          1
     0                                                       0

QuESTIoN 3                                              QuESTIoN 4

so, did you learn anything new?                         Has the talk made it any less likely you’ll mess up
                                                        your life through drinking too much and taking
1.        not a thing. Heard it all before.             drugs?
2.        it filled a few gaps rather than being new.
3.        actually, there was quite a bit i didn’t      1.        its made no difference at all.
          know.                                         2.        maybe a small difference, stuff to think on.
                                                        3.        yes, i would say it has made a difference

     60                                 3                    80
                             2                               60
     30                                                      40

                                                             30                       2
     10          1                                                       1
     0                                                       0


                                               fa m i ly m E D i aT i o n

our family support service has developed substantially over the last two years. Very quickly, we found that the parents or grandparents
we were working with generally wanted to bring in their loved one experiencing the substance misuse/gambling problem. Having worked
with several of these cases, we developed a family mediation programme which is a structured, step by step support programme where we
work closely with both the affected person and their family over a prolonged period. Joint meetings often prove to be an ideal platform for
both parties to express their problems to each other in a neutral environment. We have had several excellent outcomes as a result of this
process and it is a system that we continue to work on and develop. We find that we can help the whole family to make changes even if the
whole family does not work with us. Just as one person’s behaviour affects the rest of the family, if one family member can learn something
useful then others often want to learn too. E.g. communicate in a new and effective way.

in 2004, the council Housing services Department examined the work we were undertaking and granted us funding to continue the
work. They saw that our family mediation work was contributing greatly to drug and alcohol misusing or dependent children and spouses
being able to remain in the family home and therefore not put an even greater demand on the region’s overstretched local Homeless

           s o m E T H o u g H T s f ro m o u r s u p p o rT m a n a g E r

i am always very pleased when it becomes apparent how many              are all on journeys. often these journeys take many different paths,
people read our annual report. i have always felt it offers me an       but all of us hope that the eventual destination will be the same.
excellent opportunity to cover many issues which are important to       recovery.
the families and friends i work with and also those that i may never
have contact with. you may be wondering why i have chosen all           1 also hope that you will find the images relaxing and soothing.
these lovely pictures to accompany my piece. The common theme           and i hope you do noT find that last sentence pretentious and
that runs through the images is that of pathways. much of our           artsy!
work is about helping people to find the right pathway. our clients

                                               W H aT i s a D D i c T i o n

addiction is an illness with recognisable symptoms. physical dependency may develop - an indication that the user’s body has become
habituated to large quantities of alcohol or drugs. Health may be affected, as certain types of bodily damage are associated with substance
abuse. a medical evaluation is required to assess the extent of physical dependency or impaired health, although some individuals
display the classic symptoms of dependency without experiencing any health problems. However, all dependent people are subject to
certain emotional and behavioural changes. These create great difficulties for family members and friends as well as resulting in isolation
and despair for the person with the problem. compulsion is a prominent feature, creating a desire to continue using alcohol, drugs or
gambling, despite subsequent damage to themselves and others. Defensiveness about the extent and implications of their use is typical,
making the dependent person increasingly unreachable. memory lapses occur frequently with heavy-drinking or drug-taking, which
means that the user often cannot recall specific episodes. most dependencies eventually result in a marked deterioration in personality and
behaviour patterns. The person’s ability to maintain healthy relationships is damaged, as is his or her capacity to function effectively at
work and within the community. at present, let us underline that defensiveness, memory lapse and compulsion combine to ensure that the
dependent person does not recognise the damage arising from alcohol, drug or gambling abuse. lack of recognition of the problem on the
part of the excessive user is, therefore, an important part of the illness. This is usually referred to as denial or self-delusion. family members
or friends can unwittingly prolong the condition by becoming ‘Enablers’. The term enabling is used to describe any behaviour by family
members or friends which aim to contain or limit drinking, drugtaking or gambling or to shield the dependent person from the familiar,
legal, social or work-related implications of ongoing excessive use.

although based on a desire to resolve problems, enabling actually worsens a situation in the long term. it removes responsibility from the
person whose drinking, drug-taking or gambling is creating difficulties. it, therefore, slows down his or her recognition of the illness which
is developing and of the need to seek help.

                       a noTE abouT compulsiVE gambling

The use of both alcohol and drugs involves the intake of mood-             life is seriously disrupted. professionals working in the treatment
altering chemicals which have a direct effect on physical,                 field are familiar with the concept of Dual Dependency. abuse of
emotional and behaviour functioning. compulsive gambling                   alcohol and gambling or abuse of alcohol and drugs are common
does not involve chemical intake but, in every respect it mimics           combinations. for this reason, many centres offering professional
the pathology of dependency. research continues to establish               treatment are drug-free and recommend complete abstinence
the mechanisms which operate, but current wisdom suggests                  from any mood-altering chemicals or experiences if recovery is to
that compulsive gambling involves a marked alteration of mood              be attained and developed. recovery from dependency is possible
with extreme highs and lows. it also gives rise to manipulation in         with appropriate help. for many families, the initial task is to
order to secure funding and to defensiveness and protectiveness            contribute to successful intervention, so that the dependent person
in relation to its use. The consequences of compulsive gambling            is offered the opportunity to get well and resume normal living.
are severe; financial and legal difficulties are common and family

                      E n a b l i n g - b E H aV i o u r a n D aT T i T u D E

Enabling involves both behaviour and attitude. preoccupation           the dependency progresses in severity. some family members
with control and protection can dominate the day-to-day life of        and friends enable only to a limited extent or soon learn that
family members to the point where normal activities are seriously      enabling doesn’t help. others are constantly watchful and devote
disrupted and emotional growth is restricted. Enabling sometimes       considerable time and energy to coping with the difficulties
becomes the norm, indicating an unreflective, automatic response       presented by the dependent person. many families need support
to each new demand presented by the dependency. as crises              and guidance from outside the family before they can try to reverse
escalate, the perceived need to continue enabling maintains a          enabling and become intervention-oriented. When recovery
dysfunctional momentum of its own. reacting unthinkingly to            begins, some family members and friends reflect with
each new crisis, family members rely on old methods of response        astonishment on their years of enabling.
because their adaptability is reduced by continuing stress. The        against all considerations of reason or logic, they engaged
unrelenting demands of dependency create further reasons to            repeatedly, in patterns of behaviour detrimental to themselves and
enable. a pattern emerges which requires interruption. Education       often contrary to their personal standards or values. at the time, of
about enabling is a vital first step. With knowledge comes choice.     course, they saw their efforts as an attempt to counterbalance the
family members can often give themselves permission to end             disorder associated with the dependent person’s behaviour. They
enabling when they understand that it is fundamentally unhelpful.      were also concerned to preserve normal standards within family
some people hesitate to stop enabling because of misconceptions        life and to keep the troubled individual functioning normally, at
about the changes entailed. for example, becoming non-enabling         work and in society. They believed themselves to be acting in the
does not mean excluding the dependent person from family life.         best interests of everyone affected by the problem.
nor is it necessary to develop an atmosphere of criticism in which
the problem is constantly scrutinised. a non-enabling family           occasionally, enabling is based mainly on personal need within
member does not abandon the troubled person. rather, they strip        the family member or friend. usually, however, it occurs because
him or her of the crutches and rationalisations which contribute to    of a misconception about the nature of the problem or a
self-delusion. When enabling ends, the dependent person is forced      misunderstanding of the type of help required by the dependent
to “own” his or her behaviour and its distressing consequences.        person. an important point that i would make is that some
He or she becomes open to the recognition that the problem is          enabling behaviours are necessary for the survival of the family
personal and requires self-help. When control and protection by        unit, particularly to provide for the safety, well-being and security
others no longer occurs, the troubled individual is increasingly       of vulnerable family members and children. most families enable
aware of compulsion, powerlessness and despair. sooner or later,       to some extent. The type of enabling which gets greatest emphasis
perhaps following a crisis, an offer of help can be accepted. When     varies considerably from situation to situation. it depends, to some
the illness of dependency is fully accepted, it feels right not to     extent, on the pattern of use of the troubled individual.
enable further. intervention becomes necessary and desire for
recovery can replace concern for survival as the major motivator
in a family. When working toward intervention, the notion of
responsibility for is best translated into responsibility Toward the
troubled individual, who needs help of a specific type in order to
get well.

in recovery an excessive drinker, drug-taker or gambler will
be encouraged to take personal responsibility for his or her
dependency and to recognise treatment or sobriety as the only
options for the future. family members and friends can discharge
their responsibilities by channelling energies in the direction of
intervention and, later, by participating in the dependent person’s
treatment and recovery. continued enabling, however, makes
recovery less likely.

in a moment, i want to introduce mrs. a; so that you can
recognise the strain on both the individual and the family
constant enabling requires. initially, we should recognise that
family members and friends rarely intend to become enablers.
in fact, most people are shocked when they eventually realise
that their well-intentioned efforts have actually been prolonging
the problem. The reasons for enabling can change over time as

            m r s . a Ta l K i n g T o a fa m i ly s u p p o rT W o r K E r

Enabling has two major elements.
control and protection.
insight -Enabling awareness

(Some of the identifying details have been changed to protect           world. a day is good or bad, depending on my partner and his
confidentiality)                                                        drinking. i suppose now that i understand enabling, i realise how
                                                                        hard i’ve been trying to stop my partner’s drinking. Every day is a
‘i’m amazed. i can’t believe i’ve learned so much just by talking to    battle. i nag, i plead, i issue ultimatums. He promises and i
you. you know, i really didn’t want to come today. i resented it. i     believe him. Then when he drinks again, i feel devastated. He can’t
felt, why should i? my partner has the problem, not me; i’m not         possibly love me, i think. How could he keep doing this to me
drinking too much. Then i thought, well, at least someone will          if he did? and then i feel such a failure, a bad wife, unlovable. i
listen to me; let me talk about my partner. i get so few chances        blame myself, but i’m so angry with my partner as well. you know,
to let off steam. you know, it’s funny. i wanted to talk about my       when you talked about compulsion and about alcoholism
partner but we ended up talking about me. in a way, i’m glad. i         as an illness, it really changed the way i see things. i thought my
know my doctor’s been worried about me. That’s why he suggested         partner could control himself, if he wanted to or if i forced him.
i come here. i suppose i have been pretty tense lately. i’m tired       now i see he can’t, that he’s out of control and needs help. i’ve
all the time and i don’t like the way i behave toward the children.     been doing all the wrong things. When you showed me that list of
i’m so snappy and irritable. only the other day i realised my           enabling behaviours, i recognised so many - i’ve been doing them
five-year old son is frightened of me - i was shouting at him for       for years. i’d try one thing to control him - then i’d try another
nothing - almost screaming. i felt so ashamed. That’s not like me       and always protected him. i understand now why they didn’t
i’ve changed so much. These last few years have been a nightmare,       work but at the time, i’d feel so angry and frustrated. i hated my
constantly worrying about my partner, our future and the                partner. i couldn’t talk to him. lately i feel he’s almost another
children. i felt trapped and i really couldn’t see a way out.           child in the family because i have to take so much responsibility.
you’ve been so helpful to me. i see things in a completely different    i’ve been feeling such contempt for him. i just didn’t realise he was
light now. i realise i can do something constructive - something        ill and needed help. i thought i was helping him but now i see my
that will really help. Do you know, i never even knew about             type of help is not what he needs. in spite of everything, i still
intervention? isn’t that amazing? When i think about it, i didn’t       love my partner. We were really happy when we first married
even realise my partner could be an alcoholic and could get             and he was a wonderful person. We seemed to have such a great
help. i’ve been living with the problem for so long but just didn’t     future... He’s changed, too. sometimes i feel i’m living with a
see it properly. While we were talking, i began to realise that i’ve    stranger. He says such hurtful things when he’s drunk. you know,
been mishandling the whole thing. i didn’t mean to...i never knew       before coming here, i was beginning to think we had marital
about enabling until today. but i see now, that’s just what i was       problems, that perhaps we should separate, that we weren’t right
doing. for years i’ve protected my partner, lied for him,               for each other. now i see it differently. my partner is an alcoholic
borrowed money from my father to take care of his bills, made           and he needs help to stop drinking and to get his thinking and
excuses to everyone for his drinking... i covered up for him            feelings back to normal. i need help, too. now that i understand, i
because i was so afraid he’d lose his job. i used to hate telephoning   plan to stop enabling. i realise now i was just creating
on monday morning to say he wasn’t coming in. it was so hard            tension for myself and the children and i was alienating my
to keep on lying. i can hardly believe i did all that and for so        partner. i’d like to help him but i’m not sure how easy it will be.
long. i felt i had to keep my partner’s drinking a secret, from our     i’ll need support but, really, after all these years it will be such a
friends and my own family. i used to have friends of my own but 1       relief to feel i’m doing something constructive. intervention is
dropped out of things. i couldn’t face people and i didn’t want to      really the only option we have.’
have to talk about my partner. you know how people ask.. it’s just
politeness but they assume you’re a couple and do things together.
These last few years, i felt i couldn’t rely on my partner for
anything. We never go out together any more because i just can’t
stand his drinking. i’ve been feeling so isolated, so cut off from
people. it’s as though my partner’s drinking is the centre of my

c o n s T ru c T i V E s E l f - c a r E a s a n i n T E rV E n T i o n s T r aT E g y

How Then, You Ask, Is It Possible To Care For Yourself                    • We provide one-to-one support (either by telephone or face-to-
While Feeling Bad?                                                           face).
                                                                          • We are positive about meeting other family members and
The first step for intervention-oriented family members and                  friends. We provide family sessions / family mediation.
friends is to acknowledge personal distress. The second step is to        • We are available to listen, talk and support for as long as your
normalise it. instead of feeling different or freakish or crazy, family      needs dictate.
members and friends need to accept that it is normal to feel bad          • We allow individuals to move at their own pace.
in an abnormal situation. The very fact that powerful emotions            • We give advice as to the choices available, without telling
and defensiveness are present indicate healthy self-protectiveness.          people what to do.
need deprivation has the same significance, in that the pain of           • We provide information about other useful services, resources
not having what we need alerts us to the presence of the need                and networks.
itself. being able to acknowledge unmet needs and change aspects          • We provide educational sessions in an informal setting.
of our lives so that needs can be met is normal and healthy.              • We provide free educational material.
most family members and friends need outside help to feel well            • We provide a reliable, punctual and flexible service that
again. your Doctor and The first base agency are an excellent                responds to individual needs.
starting point for most people. it is vital for family members and        • We provide many other forms of support To meet
friends to recognise that it can take some time to deal effectively          individual identified unmet needs.
with emotional distress. While working toward intervention, it
is important to view constructive self-care as a strategy for the         in and around the agency we display evaluation and suggestion
revitalisation of self. it’s possible to begin to feel good again,        forms for people to take away and complete in private. We
independently of the progress of the dependent person. This               welcome both good and bad comments and we frilly consider and
involves a process, a direction, rather than a one-off personal           act on comments and suggestions. if clients request a response in
decision or therapeutic contact. it presupposes self-help as well as      writing, we always oblige.
the use of all available resources. it represents a commitment to
oneself - a choice.
                                                                          i would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the
if our annual report has found its way into the hands of someone          families and friends for helping to learn and grow. you know who
who is close to someone with an alcohol, drug or gambling                 you are and i hope that you feel proud that some of your own
problem and you would like some support we hope that it will              suggestions and strategies are now helping many more people to
encourage you to seek out the support you require. and let it             deal more effectively with their situation. as always, you continue
reassure you that you are not alone.                                      to be an inspiration...

We know what it’s like to be affected by someone else’s alcohol,          carol green
                                                                          Support Manager
drug or gambling problem, including how it feels, what can
happen, ways of understanding the situation and dealing with it.

What We Offer

We provide a safe, comfortable, friendly, respectful, none
- judgemental and confidential environment where we support
family members and friends to express and work through their
feelings, understand the complex situation that they are dealing
with and develop practical ways of coping.

supporT for VulnErablE young WomEn aT risK from ViolEncE

although we have at all times tried to make it as clear as possible          and supporting on a wide variety of health issues - drug or
that we are noT a’ Drop in’ centre for those with addiction                  alcohol misuse and what treatment choices are available, sexually
problems, we constantly get a large number of drug users calling in          transmitted diseases, Hepatitis c, HiV/aids, and unplanned
to ask for support. sadly, the local drug problem is so severe that          pregnancy - and we make appropriate referrals to other agencies as
we cannot accommodate this need as we would very quickly be                  and when required and we will accompany the clients on what are
overwhelmed. However, our support manager carol green always                 often emotionally difficult appointments. We have also had a close
found time to support the numerous young females who were self               involvement with the child protection team at the social services
referring with appalling problems. The local council knew of this            Department with clients where we have attended core group
service and therefore they made us aware of funding available from           meetings and children’s panels. We are involved in ongoing
the Equality unit of the scottish Executive for projects designed            discussions with Women’s aid with regard to the development of
to help young females at risk of violence. constant threat is very           appropriate services for abused women with addiction problems.
much a common denominator among our female client group.
Dumfries has a very severe and much hidden prostitution problem              statistics from the scottish government have shown that heroin
and the violence that accompanies this is both vicious and                   use amongst females in Dumfries and galloway is second only
common. We made a successful bid for funding and were granted                to greater glasgow in scotland and confirms why demand is so
a two year award of £37,600. We received a further two year award            high for this particular service. Thankfully over the last two years
of £49,000 in march 2006. This funding has now been renewed                  we have seen a significant reduction in the waiting times for nHs
until 2011.                                                                  treatment which has made life much more manageable for many
                                                                             of our clients.
The project not only involves helping these vulnerable clients
to try to make their lives safer. We also spend time advising

 scoTTisH EXEcuTiVE figurEs - January 2005

 Estimates of the prevalence of female problem drug use (age 15 to 64)

                                                                     ToTal                                      % populaTion
 Dumfries and galloway                                               593                                        1.54
 mainland scotland                                                   15793                                      1.10

                                   signposTing anD aDVocacy

although we are not a ‘drop in’, our advice service is still in great        that is used on a daily basis, is that we allow clients to come in and
and constant demand from drug users seeking help with their                  use the telephone to make calls to support agencies that they are
problems. We spend a considerable amount of time helping and                 working with.
advising clients about treatment related issues and making calls
on their behalf to establish how long their wait is likely to be. We         several partner agencies - particularly phoenix, social services and
also do a lot of basic signposting work to help clients to receive           the criminal Justice Team find using our facilities to be of great
support with other issues such as benefits, housing and criminal             use. many clients that we share are ‘of no fixed abode’ and cannot
justice issues. We have built up strong partnerships with other              be contacted by telephone. once the proper consent is obtained
local agencies such as Welfare rights, citizens advice, The peoples          from the client, we are more than happy to be used as a point of
advocacy service and others which has enabled us to strengthen               contact - either to receive mail or to pass on messages and arrange
this element of our advisory work and to make it more effective.             appointments for clients to meet with their support workers.
one of the most straight forward services that we offer, and one

                                      T H E f o o D pa rc E l s E rV i c E

We introduced our food parcel service in march 2004 and demand        we will try to make an appropriate referral. We always ask if there
has grown strongly. We found that our clients and clients of other    is anything that we are able to help with and we find that the
agencies often found it impossible to get emergency food arranged     food parcel service is often a gateway to clients to start using our
quickly due to complicated paperwork. We also found that the          advisory service.
vouchers were are issued in emergency situations were seldom used
for the purchase of food. a £10 voucher would almost invariably       all other agencies in the town are welcome to refer their clients
be sold on for £5 and then spent on more drugs. To help fill this     to us to collect a food parcel as long as they provide them with a
need we introduced a very simple system. We offer two types of        compliment slip. The demand has now apparently settled down
food parcel - one for clients with cooking facilities, and one for    to an average of just under 70 per month. over recent months we
those without. We cater for special dietary needs - diabetics, food   have seen a 50% increase in demand due to chronic failings in the
allergies and religious/cultural requirements. We also offer basic    benefit system. We are now regularly asked to feed whole families
toiletries.                                                           for up to two weeks. We receive £4500 a year for running this
                                                                      service from the Homeless Department and they have indicated
We always issue a food parcel when any client comes in and            that it is likely that this funding will be ongoing. in 2007 we
applies for the first time. after this, they need to come in with a   received a £500 award from the nHs which enabled us to double
signed compliment slip from any other agency that they are in         the fruit content in the parcels.
contact with. if they are not in contact with any other services,

 fooD parcEl conTEnTs

 WiTH cooKing faciliTiEs

 1 x baked beans, 1 x Tinned spaghetti, 1 x Tinned meat balls, 1 x Tinned Hot dogs, 1 x pot noodle 1 x packet noodles, 1 x Tinned
 potatoes, 1 x packet cup soup, 1 x packet plain crisps 1 x packet Digestive biscuits, 1 x Tinned rice pudding, 2 x Tinned fruit
 cocktail, 1 x Jar strawberry Jam, 1 x muesli bar, 1 x 800g sliced medium White bread, coffee, Tea, sugar, Dried milk powder, 1 x
 orange Juice

 WiTHouT cooKing faciliTiEs

 1 x Tinned corned beef, 1 x Tinned Hot dogs, 1 x pot noodle, 1 x packet noodles, 1 x packet cup soup, 1 x packet plain crisps,
 1 x packet Digestive biscuits, 1 x Tinned rice pudding, 2 x Tinned fruit cocktail, 1 x Jar strawberry Jam, 1 x 800g sliced medium
 White bread, coffee, Tea, sugar, Dried milk powder, 1 x orange juice, 1 x muesli bar


securing the funds that we have needed over the last two years has     We feel it is worth concluding with what we feel are some
proved to be a truly demanding task. When we formulated our            important issues regarding funding not only for ourselves, but
funding strategy in april 2006, we decided that our main priority      also others in the voluntary sector. firstly, the decision to plunder
was to try and secure a much higher percentage of our required         the big lottery fund to the tune of £2 billion has caused great
funding from independent grant donating trusts. in 2005/6 we           damage to the voluntary sector which will take years to repair.
had one such supporter, the robertson Trust, and but for a late        is a fortnight’s worth of running, jumping and synchronised
in the year donation of £20,000 from gretna fc, we would have          swimming in East london really worth the rest of the country
found it extremely difficult to cover all our costs.                   paying such a cost? We don’t think so.

We started our campaign in the summer of 2006 and within               secondly, after five years of giving presentations to thousands and
months we were delighted with the results. in 2006/7 we secured        thousands of school children and members of the community,
the support of 12 new trusts in addition to the ongoing support        we have still yet to hear of a single penny’s worth of bespoke
from the robertson Trust. awards ranged from £500 and we               government funding to support drugs education work. The bill
received two major awards of £10,000 from the robertson Trust          we all pay to treat, house, feed and imprison those locked into
and the alvor charitable Trust. our income from trusts was             the addiction cycle runs to an estimated £20 billion - enough
£35,000. We felt that we were very much on track to achieve the        for another seven years of fighting in iraq and afghanistan.
targets we had set ourselves. our income from trusts rose to just      surely when we throw such jaw dropping sums of public cash at
under 40% of our funding needs. in 2005/6 this income stream           treatment and enforcement, it is plain crazy not to allocate a tiny
had made up less than 15% of our overall needs.                        fraction of this money to support those working hard to stop the
                                                                       next generation of addicts being signed up by the drugs industry.
stage two of our plan was to try and secure the support of             The cost of all of our information/Education projects for a whole
additional trusts in 2007/8 and thereby cover more than half           year is less than the cost of sending a single criminalised addict to
of our funding requirements from a wide spread of diverse              jail for the same amount of time. prevention is the very best way to
funders. for most of the year it seemed as if we were going to         tackle this awful mess. sure, finding money to help fund those of
be entirely unsuccessful in meeting this target. it came as a great    us who stand up in front of scowling classes of s4s will never be as
disappointment when a number of trusts failed to continue              big a vote winner as locking up more and more addicts, but we feel
funding. We were obviously concerned that they had not been            that the tax payer will get a whole lot more bang for their buck.
happy with our performance, but our enquiries soon proved
otherwise. several Trusts reported that they were having to deal
with an extraordinary increase in requests for support. They all       funDErs 2006/2008
believed that the london olympics were the reason for this, as the
government in Westminster had diverted over £2 billion of big          The scottish government
lottery funding away from the voluntary sector in order to pay for     Dumfries and galloway council
the 2012 event. £2 billion leaves a mighty big hole, and all over      The robertson Trust
the uK charities were having to look longer, further and harder to     The alvor foundation
keep themselves afloat.                                                The Holywood Trust
                                                                       gretna football club
Thankfully, by the end of the year we were able to once again          gr blount pharmacy
secure what cash we needed thanks to two awards that arrived           The Wickerman festival
very late in the day. likening the £11,000 we received from the        The Darroch Trust
Holywood Trust and the £5000 we received from the Harmead              The Henry smith charity
Trust to the arrival of the cavalry would not be too much of a         The Harmead Trust
exaggeration! We were very pleased when representatives from           The Hugh fraser foundation
the Holywood, alvor and robertson Trusts came in person to             The peter De Haan charitable Trust
visit the agency to see our work first hand and to meet staff and      The monica rabagliati Trust
management committee. We always welcome this kind of close             The Dickon Trust
involvement from funders. They certainly give us plenty of useful      The astor foundation
tips about how to request funding.                                     The odin charitable Trust
                                                                       The ashworth charitable Trust
in both years, the balance of our funding was made up by £24,000       The n smith charitable Trust
from the scottish government to support our safe Havens project        The Eis union
and just under £15,000 from the Housing services division of           The Dumfries lions club
the local council to fund our food parcel project and our family       The chapelcross snowball fund
mediation work. an appeal to local businesses raised just over         The nHs
£1000 and we continued to receive donations from the public in         The Dumfries and galloway aDaT
June 2008 we will reach our fifth anniversary which means that         r barbour & sons
there simply must be a special mention for a member of the public      gates power Transmission
from Dumfries who has sent us a £10 donation in every one of           simms mirec
the sixty months that have passed since we first opened our doors.     gems Jewellers
The person in question shall remain anonymous, it is the person        James Jones & sons ltd
who sends us postcards from holidays in yorkshire so you know          Wm clark & son (parkgate) ltd
who you are! it is very hard to overstate what this kind of generous   The lockerbie cheese company
support means to all of us.                                            The cairndale Hotel
                                                                       Dumfries and galloway police force
We were able to end 2007/8 in a much stronger financial position.      loch arthur
The scottish government had granted us a three year award              Day Today stores
to continue our safe Havens project. We are hopeful that our           ian garton motors
council funding will be ongoing and we are also optimistic that        barony college
we can build on our relationships with several trusts to secure the    Thornhill reading club
remainder of what we need.


2006/7                                                       2007/8

1 advice sessions - 241                                      1 advice sessions - 220
2 young women at risk support sessions - 130                 2 young women at risk support sessions - 127
3 food parcels - 709                                         3 food parcels - 754
4 family mediation sessions - 315                            4 family mediation sessions - 340

 VISITS To THE FIRST BASE AGENCY 2006/07                      VISITS To THE FIRST BASE AGENCY 2007/08

              4- 23%         1- 17%                                        4- 24%       1- 15%
                                                                                                2- 9%
                                  2- 9%

                         3- 51%                                                             3- 52%

                  EDuCATIoN/INFoRMATIoN PRESENTATIoNS 06/07

                  1.   Drugs education for parent classes         5 schools/ 100 parents
                  2.   Drug/ alcohol awareness for pupils         21 schools/ 2400 pupils
                  3.   Talks to community groups                  6 talks/ 150 attended
                  4.   Training sessions for organisations        2 sessions/ 13 attended

                  EDuCATIoN/INFoRMATIoN PRESENTATIoNS 06/07

                  1.   Drugs education for parent classes         4 schools/ 90 parents
                  2.   Drug/ alcohol awareness for pupils         22 schools/ 2600 pupils
                  3.   Talks to community groups                  12 talks/ 200 attended
                  4.   Training sessions for organisations        3 sessions/ 20 attended


sTaTEmEnT of financial                        unrestricted funds         restricted funds      Total funds 2007
for the year ended 31 march 2007                        £                         £                   £
Incoming Resources
GENERATED FuNDS                                      42680                      43690               86370
Voluntary income

ToTAL INCoME RESouRCES                               42680                      43690               86370

charitable activities                                (23482)                   (35997)             (59479)
governance costs                                     (11454)                    (7952)             (19406)

ToTAL RESouRCES ExPENDED                             34936                      43949               78885

NET MoVEMENT IN FuNDS                                 7744                      (259)               7485

FuND BALANCE BRouGHT FoRWARD                           182                      2698                2880

FuND BALANCE CARRIED FoRWARD                          7926                      2439                10365

sTaTEmEnT of financial                        unrestricted funds         restricted funds      Total funds 2007
for the year ended 31 march 2008                        £                         £                   £
Incoming Resources
GENERATED FuNDS                                      44148                      40755               84903
Voluntary income

ToTAL INCoME RESouRCES                               44148                      40755               84903

charitable activities                                (28352)                   (37991)             (66343)
governance costs                                     (17828)                    (3633)             (21461)

ToTAL RESouRCES ExPENDED                             46180                      41624               87804

NET MoVEMENT IN FuNDS                                (2032)                     (869)               (2901)

FuND BALANCE BRouGHT FoRWARD                          7926                      2439                10365

FuND BALANCE CARRIED FoRWARD                          5894                      1570                7464

                        a full set of audited financial statements are available on request.
‘scoTlanD’s alTErnaTiVE music fEsTiVal is prouD To
supporT THE WorK of iTs affiliaTED cHariTy
THE firsT basE agEncy’

24TH & 25TH July 2009

The first base agency
6 buccleuch st
Dg1 2aH

01387 279 680


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